How Do I Domesticate a Judgment?


If you have a judgment from out of state, there is a procedure that allows you to file the judgment at a different state court. Attorneys refer to this procedure as domesticating a judgment. The benefit of this procedure is that it gives you access to a local court to collect on your judgment. You will not have to hire an attorney from out of state or travel unnecessarily. In some instances, the laws of your jurisdiction may also be more favorable to you.

  • Verify the requirements for domesticating and collecting on judgments in the jurisdiction in question. Each state has its own laws. In Virginia, for example, an abstract of the judgment is satisfactory for domestication, while in Texas, you will need a true copy of the judgment.

  • Order a certified copy of the foreign or out-of-state judgment. Contact the office of the clerk at the courthouse where the original judgment was entered. Explain to them that you need it so you can file it in another jurisdiction. There is usually a small fee to cover the costs of copying and a service charge for the court’s seal and certification that the copy is authentic.

  • File the certified copy of your out-of-state judgment at the courthouse of the local jurisdiction. Inform the clerk of the court that you want to domesticate the foreign judgment. Pay the required filing fees. There may be additional requirements such as filing an affidavit confirming the identity of the judgment debtor and confirming that the judgment is still valid.

  • Take steps to collect on your judgment with the laws of the local jurisdiction. The great benefit of domesticating a judgment is that it now allows you to proceed with the judgment as if it had been originally adjudicated and entered in the local jurisdiction. After domestication, the local court will treat the foreign judgment just like a local judgment.


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